Idol Chatter

Idol Chatter

Enter to Win: Books on Holiday Entertaining

holidaybookgiveaway.jpgSure, Thanksgiving is over, but the holiday entertaining season is just beginning. Break out the Yule logs, whip up a bowl of eggnog, bake some gingerbread cookies, and hold the fruit cake.

Have trouble getting in touch with your inner Martha Stewart? Don’t worry. Hachette Book Group has provided Beliefnet with 5 sets of books that will help you prepare for a no-fuss, easy month of welcoming guests to your home for delicious nibbles and humorous conversation. Each book set will include 5 books:


1- The Flavor Bible, by Karen Page, Andrew Dornenburg
2- Katie Brown Celebrates, by Katie Brown
3- I Like You, by Amy Sedaris
4- Festivus, by Allen Salkin
5- Holidays on Ice, by David Sedaris

Want a set of these books?

Post a comment below by Wednesday, December 10, answering the question: What’s the one holiday memory you will never forget?

Make sure you include your email address in the designated area (it won’t be made public). The 5 best responses–based on the judgment of the Idol Chatter editors–will each win a set of the books.

Please read the legal stuff before entering.

Also, be sure to check out our Holidays page.

  • Nathan Reimer

    My holiday memory is when we bought our son his first bike. His face was full of amazement and wonder. He said, “I love it! How did Santa know that’s exactly what I wanted?” The innocence and awe of children.

  • Your Name

    My best Christmas memory is at the age of 4 1/2 yrs and on Christmas Eve, Santa came to our house and I got a pull along puppy that wagged his tail and barked as he was pulled. This was the first Christmas that I can actually remember but it still remains my favorite.

  • Kathleen Bergquist

    When I was 9 yrs old my father was in the hospital during the Holidays. Money was scarce and Mom had 5 children to dress for Christmas and find a few presents for each of us. She told us the story of the Christmas Angel who like the original Christmas Angels brought Tidings of Great Joy. Two days before Christmas we heard a knock on the front door and when Mom went to answer it no one was there. But she found a package on the doormat. She brought it inside so we could all open it together. It had a label on it that read,”From the Christmas Angel”. Inside the package was a NEW dress for all 4 girls and a new dress shirt and pants for my brother. There was even a dress for my MOM. Everyone screamed with Joy and ran off to try on our CHRISTMAS ANGEL GIFTS.

  • Andrea

    My favorite Christmas was the year I helped my parents be Santa for my sister who is three years younger than me. I had figured out the secret sometime earlier that year, but my sister had not. So I asked my parents if I could be Santa’s helper. It was hard to keep the secret until I realized that I didn’t want the magic of Santa broken for my sister. I wanted her to enjoy it as long as possible. Seeing the look on her face the next morning was priceless, a memory I cherish so tenderly.
    God bless you!

  • Your Name

    When my son was 11 and I was 31, I was at the time in an abusive relationship. Across the street, from where we lived at the time, a coffee shop just opened up. One evening they were having a Christmas Carol sing-along complete with free coffee and refreshments. My son and I went and we felt welcome and at peace. For once we weren’t afraid or walking on egg shells. He met other kids there that was the same age as he was, and he felt comfortable and laughed. We discovered that Christmas wasn’t gifts or hoopla,but a sense of community, love and peace.

  • Your Name

    My favorite Christmas memory was the year my son was just turning 7 years old and someone at school told him there was no Santa. He came home in tears; so sad and it broke my heart to see his innocence ruined by a thoughtless comment.
    I told a friend a work what had happened and we came up with the idea of having a friend of her husband call my son one night and say he was Santa. I gave her a copy of his letter to Santa and a few nights later the phone rang. I answered it and told my son (who was also named Nicholas) that it was someone for him. He took the phone and got the most joyous expression on his face.
    The friend told him that it was Santa and that he understood my son didn’t believe he existed anymore. They had a conversation where my son was told the things he had put in his letter to Santa and what he wanted for Christmas. Then the friend told my son to always believe in magic and the joy of Christmas. He also reminded him that yes, Christmas was about Santa and toys but also the reason gifts were given were because of the first Christmas when gifts were given to the Christ Child. He reminded him to always remember that Jesus is the reason for the season and to keep him in his heart all year long…not just at Christmas time.
    After that phone call there was no one that could convince my son Santa didn’t exist…but not just that; this 6 year old little boy also would tell people the real meaning of Christmas and the story of the Christ Child.
    My son is now 30 years old and became a father 5 months ago. A few nights ago he reminded me of that phone call all those years ago and how much it had meant to him and that he hopes the first year his own son hears there is no Santa that a phone call is made to him reminding him of the true meaning of Christmas.
    All of you…have the most joyous of holidays and remember always why we celebrate this time of year.

  • maryann

    my favorite christmas was in 1954.i found out there was no santa,when mymom come to check see if we were asleep,i herad her get the stuff,taken it down stairs,put it under the tree,i herad her and my dad talking,i never told my sister,she was 8,got up next moring,i have a big doll,but ihas a beatufil dress it was black,andwhite ,my daddy got it for me,i love it,it was the last christmas i was tohave with my daddy,he passaway,in feb on valtine time day,i will always rember that christmas,i spent with the man ialways love my daddy god bless you all who read this and a very merry christmas ,

  • Your Name

    One of my favorite Christmas memories is our Christmas stockings. When we were little we didn’t have fancy stockings we used one of our dads old socks and hung them up around the doorway since we didn’t have a fireplace. We usually got one gift the whole family could use and an individual gift. We were really excited to open our gifts but the stocking was always something we anticipated. We would ponder for days before on what goodies we would receive. We would go into the living room on Christmas morning and see the bulging socks and take them down and empty them. Our mom and dad would stand over us as we counted our nuts nad candies and decided who Santa had left the biggest orange, apple or tangerine. Even though we were poor we felt like the richest kids on the block. Hope your stockings are full this Christmas and that you will be truly blessed.

  • Your Name

    When my brothers and sisters were young, we would wake up on Easter morning and expect Easter Baskets from The Easter Bunny. To our surprise, this particular holiday we found envelopes with our names. Inside there was a clue written in rhyme. Something like “To find your basket filed with treats, go to a cold place where you find frozen things to eat!” So Of course as you guessed the basket would be placed in maybe the fridge or deep freeze. It was alot of fun to have to look around using clues! Even better, we not only got Easter treats, but they were put into more useful items like mine for instance was in a pretty little purse to match my easter dress which I wore to church that day!

  • Your Name

    My favorite holiday memory is the last christmas I spent wwhen all the people I loved the most were still here on earth.I can still see all their beautiful faces and the joy we all shared just to be together again this blessed time of year..Just to get the chance to be with each other was the greatest gift of all.We all lived in different parts of the country,but somehow we managed to gather together for that magical time of year.I Thank god for those wonderful memories..Wishing all of you a blessed and happy Holiday
    filled with beautiful memories.

  • ShirleyLittle

    My favorite Christmas memory is when I turned ten years old. That Christmas was the last one we spent as a family. My parents moved us to Florida and very soon thereafter divorced. I was always a “Daddy’s girl.” To lose him almost killed me especially being in a new place and not feeling that my mother was capable of taking care of my brother, who was six years older, and me.That was also the last year that I was sexually abused. You can imagine why that was a lasting memory for me. Don’t ask me why it stopped then when the opportunity was even greater for my brother to abuse me without my father being at home. Even now, after fifty-one years, I am still suffering the memories. That Christmas, as a sheltered little ten year old, I felt very grownup because I got many of the things on my list..a Princess Ring, Hair Accessories, Grownup Clothes, but most Important was I got my own Private Telephone. I had wanted a phone so badly, but was told I wasn’t old enough to have a phone. When I opened that gift I felt so grownup and so loved. It truly was the last time I felt that in my life. Today, at sixty-one years old, I am totally alone, both parents are gone now. I haven’t seen my brother since my mother died sixteen years ago and that is just fine with me. However, due to having never married nor had children (that was due to having to have a hysterectomy at twenty one years old because of all the old abuse that did so much damage inside or so the doctor told me)I never felt it was right to marry and not be able to give my husband children, so today I sit here all by myself and I hate it. When I think of that last Christmas so long ago, it truly does give me happiness and peace in my heart. God has been good to me (far better than I deserve certainly) and even though I have had some real struggles, I have had a “GOOD” life. Now I have developed a terminal condition and don’t know if I will even have another Christmas, I am still so blessed. May each of you have a wonderful and joyous holiday season. God bless you all. Merry Christams and HappyNew Year.

  • Your Name

    I have a lot of wonderful Christmas memories spent with family and friends, but the Christmas of 1980 has to be my favorite. I was approximately 7 months pregnant, and my parents and sister had made the trip to Jacksonville to spend Christmas with me and my husband. Money had been tight, so I had made several gifts, and made some less expensive ones more special by embroidering them. I had also made some really cute ornaments for our tree, our meal turned out perfect and was made even better because we were able to share it with family. Well we stayed up until the wee hours talking and watching holiday movies, and finally exhausted we went to sleep. Well we didn’t get to sleep long because my water broke (or at least I was pretty sure I had…my husband wasn’t quite so sure). Well my husband and father took me to the hospital to find out for sure what was going on. I knew for sure I was in labor just as soon as we walked through the hospital emergency doors. I remember looking at my daddy and telling him well I’m going to be here awhile. My beautiful 6 week premature son was born at 10:27 a.m. by cesarian section; it was as if God had said “here’s my Christmas present to you this year. I love you; that’s why I sent MY son to you so many Christmas’s ago, and now your son can help remind you of my gift whenever you are feeling low”. I still say with the exception of Jesus, that my son Ryan was my very best Christmas present.

  • Cecilia

    The Christmas past that became part of the present:
    Back when I was an extremely young girl, during Xmas night, I was awoken to chatter in the kitchen. It sounded like 2 woman. My sister was asleep in the same bed, so I nudged her awake too. Then the two of us went off to investigate. First we went to our parents room, and they were both in there sleeping and snoring soundly. Next we proceeded down the stairs. No lights were on anywhere, but we could still hear the holiday sounds of clanking dishes, high heels on the linoleum, water running, and the chatter of exciting preparation for the holidays. We looked in the living room first, and saw our presents sprawled out underneath the tree. Still hearing the festivities, we proceeded to the kitchen. But when we got within a few feet of the kitchen, it suddenly stopped.
    The 2 of us proceeded to the kitchen to find it dark, and the way it was left the night before. Everything put away, and neat and tidy. Not a single sign of the festive activities that we heard. We even checked the sink and dish towel, and both were dry.
    Immediately, me and my sister took off for our bedroom. Us 2 girls were somewhat scared, and we both took turns staying awake to listen for it again. Eventually, we both fell asleep.
    The next morning we both ran downstairs to open our presents. But before we could begin, we had to ask our parents about what had happened. We explained how we heard 2 woman in high heels having a grand time. Both my parents went pale. And us girls refused to proceed with Xmas until they talked to us about it. You see, when our parents bought and looked at the house, only one elderly woman was there. That was the only woman me and my sister met. But our parents explained that she was moving because the sister that lived with her, had passed away. I then asked my mother if the remaining sister was alive. But she didn’t know.
    The nightly festivities became a regular custom during all holidays. Until one Easter, I, all by myself stood at the top of the stairwell, and talked to the women. I explained that I thought they were wonderful people, and it was great that they were having such a wonderful time. But could they make sure we didn’t hear them since it scared us. All of a sudden, the festivities ended. Never to be heard again.
    To this day, I will never forget this. Even though it was scarey, it wasn’t. And if it was just an echo from the past, why did it stop when I asked? Who knows, perhaps those 2 sweet sisters are celebrating their holidays in that very kitchen to this day.
    This is a very true story. At a later age, when we discussed this, my mother did tell me that they put our presents out before they went to bed at 11 PM. And the festivities always happened in the early AM. During which we would always find our parents asleep.

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